This past Friday, the world lost a world class drummer when Vinnie Paul Abbot passed away in his Las Vegas home at the age of 54 (March 11, 1964 - June 22, 2018). When I found out Saturday night I was sitting down, ironically enough, to sequence some drums for a song I was working on, and my heart dropped -- but only a little bit.
You see, it’s not that I’m not saddened by it. I am, but at the end of the day, I believe that Vinnie Paul lived the life that he wanted to live, and sometimes that lifestyle catches up with you. I know this to be true because a little over a year ago I lost my father, who, like Vinnie Paul, liked to have a good time. I recall my cousin telling me that my father was surprised that he lived past 60 because he liked to party so hard and so much -– yup, that was my dad. And my guess is that Vinnie was that way too.
I had the opportunity to meet Vinnie Paul Abbot and his brother "Dimebag" Darrell Abbot after a Damageplan show in Chicago back in 2004. (Dimebag would be dead six months later due to a crazed gunman.) I remember the Crown Royal. I think everyone who had the honor to hang with Vinnie or Dimebag remembers the Crown Royal, too!
More than that, though, I remember Vinnie’s smile: welcoming, warm, and dare I say it, royal! He seemed genuinely happy to be in community with his bandmates, fans, and family. One would think I was somebody who wouldn’t be a blip on Vinnie’s radar, yet he made me feel welcome in his community that night -- that night, we were all Royal.
And that is what Vinnie brought to the table. I know there is more. I know he must have suffered tremendously after losing his brother. I know the road takes its toll. I also know Vinnie made some seriously amazing music in his day. I will hold fast to what I have said for years now -- that any other band that would try to pull off what Pantera pulled off would need two more guitarists, but with Vinnie banging on the skins, there was no need.
So in celebration of Vinnie Paul Abbot, here are my ten favorite songs that Vinnie played drums on in no particular order:
Pantera - "5 Minutes Alone" (Far Beyond Driven, *1994*)
Pantera - "I'm Broken" (Far Beyond Driven, 1994)
Pantera - "Piss" (Vulgar Display of Power, 1992)
Pantera - "Psycho Holiday" (Cowboys from Hell, 1990)
Pantera - "Drag the Waters" (The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996)
Pantera - "Becoming" (Far Beyond Driven, 1994)
Rebel Meets Rebel - "Cowboys Do More Dope" (Rebel Meets Rebel, 2006)
Damageplan - "Breating New Life" (New Found Power, 2004)
HELLYEAH - "Hush" (Blood for Blood, 2014)
HELLYEAH - "Human" (Undeniable, 2016)